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Carroll County Athletic League basketball championship picture clearing up

Carroll County Athletic League championships are on the line for Carroll’s boys and girls basketball teams Friday, Feb. 14.

The county title race is in full swing and two teams from either side are in the running — Century and Westminster boys, and Liberty and Westminster girls.

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Here’s how things could shake out Friday night:

Century’s boys travels to Liberty for the final county contest of the regular season for both teams. The Knights (16-3, 10-1 CCAL) can win the county title outright if they defeat the Lions a second time.

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The Knights have won five county championships overall and three outright titles in the last six seasons. They split the title with Liberty last winter. Century defeated Liberty 58-55 on Jan. 17 in the rivals’ first meeting this season.

Westminster (15-6, 9-2) hosts Winters Mill on Friday, Feb. 14 to close out the regular season — if the Owls win and Knights lose, the teams will share the county title because they split their regular-season series.

Century hosted Westminster on Jan. 8 and lost 52-46. The Knights won nine straight games from that point that included a county win over the Owls on Feb. 4 before falling to Franklin on Monday.

Westminster beat Winters Mill 48-37 on Jan. 17.

It was a back-and-forth game, with Liberty’s eight-point halftime lead the largest for either side.

Liberty (11-9, 8-3) suffered county losses to Manchester Valley, Century, and Westminster that put the Lions out of the running for a fifth county championship and third straight. The Lions won the county title outright in 2018.

The southern Carroll showdown features three of the top five scorers in the CCAL. Century has junior Noah Riley (16.9 points per game) and senior Justin Wunder (14.9) in its backcourt, while Liberty boasts senior Peyton Scheufele (13.9).

Riley leads the county with 3.7 assists per game and adds 2.4 steals, and he (43.4) and Wunder (43.1) are 1-2 in 3-point percentage. Scheufele’s 7.2 rebounds per game are third best in the CCAL.

Wunder has made 86.3% of his free throws (69-for-80) this winter, tops in the county.

The Lions split with those same teams and earned three straight wins over South Carroll, Westminster, and Man Valley prior to this Friday’s home contest against the Knights.

On the girls side, Westminster hosts Winters Mill to close out county play Friday at 5 p.m. and the Owls could win the county title outright if they beat the Falcons. The Owls (13-7, 9-2) split their regular-season series with Liberty and South Carroll, and defeated South Carroll 44-25 on Tuesday.

Westminster can win its second CCAL title in three seasons with a win Friday, and more victories can only help the Owls secure a good seed in the upcoming Class 3A East Region 1 playoffs.

The Owls edged the Lions 50-46 on Jan. 10 but lost 54-50 at home against them on Feb. 7. They have won two county titles in the last six seasons — 2014 and 2018.

The Lions (13-6, 8-3) could earn a county title split with Westminster if the Owls lose to the Falcons and Liberty beats Century. Liberty suffered county losses against the Owls and two against Manchester Valley (11-8, 7-5).

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The Lions won six straight games before dropping to the Mavericks at home on Monday. Liberty downed Century 54-25 on Jan. 16.

Senior Rachel Thiem leads the Lions in scoring at 15.2 points per game, third best in the CCAL. Meanwhile, Westminster runs its offense through senior Lillian Harris (16 ppg, second highest), who grabs 6.3 rebounds compared to Thiem’s 8.3.

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